VW BUDD-e anticipates the brand’s platform for electric vehicles

The concept Volkswagen has just revealed at the 2016 CES has caused a great expectation in nostalgic fans of the brand. Mostly because it has taken a Bus appearance. But we can say this is the least important thing about this concept. Even because lots of Bus concepts have been revealed and none of them has ever made it to the production lines. What the BUDD-e really wants to present us is the Modularen Elektrifizierungs Baukasten (MEB), or the new modular electric architecture all of the electric Volkswagen vehicles will use. Well, almost all.

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It is interesting to note this platform will be clearly different from the one offered by the upcoming Porsche Mission E. While the supercar, with its 800V electric system, is able to recover 80% of it full charge after 15 minutes, the MEB offers a 30 minutes fast recharge system, for the same 80% of charge. In other words, the 800V will be exclusive to upscale electric cars from the group, while a 400V system, currently an industry standard, will be offered to the more peasant options.

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The BUDD-E is 4.60 m long, 1.94 wide, 1.84 tall and has a wheelbase of amazing 3.15 m. Its battery package is located in the floorpan, a solution that is becoming increasingly common after is has been adopted by Tesla and which presents many advantages, especially in driving dynamics, due to a low center of mass. Just like the new VPA Faraday Future platform, the MEB will use common front and rear modules for all its future vehicles. These modules will contain the suspension and powertrain parts.

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In the version used by BUDD-e, the MEB has a 92.4 kWh battery package that gives the concept a range of 533 km. The van can accelerate from 0 to 96 km/h in 6.9 s and can reach a top speed, electronically governed, in order to spare the batteries, of 180 km/h. The concept uses two engines, a 100 kW unit for the front axle, able to generate 200 Nm of torque, and a 125 kW and 290 Nm piece for the rear axle. The 30 minutes 80% charge fast recharging system requires a 150 kW DC special outlet. Production vehicles could use just one engine, in any of the car’s axles.

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Apart from these characteristics, the BUDD-e features a dozen other technologies that are well suited for CES, but in which we see no practical use. At least not right now. For the near future, the concept uses cameras instead of rear-view mirrors and hand gestures to control the infotainment and climate systems. For God knows when, systems that allow you to see your house from the car, a compartment in the car where stores can leave things you buy remotely and a new “man-machine” interface that replaces the traditional dashboard in favour of a huge screen (34 inches). Stuff for the visitors of CES to marvel at and wonder what the future will be like, but nothing car guys would waste more time watching than we have dedicated to describe them. Check below all other pictures of the new BUDD-e.

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Gustavo Henrique Ruffo

I have been an automotive journalist since 1998 and have worked for many important Brazilian newspapers and magazines, such as the local edition of Car and Driver and Quatro Rodas, Brazilian's biggest car magazine. I have also worked for foreign websites, such as World Car Fans and won a few journalism prizes, among them three SAE Journalism Awards and the 2017 IAM RoadSmart Safety Award. I am the author of "The Traffic Cholesterol", a book about bad drivers that you can buy at Hotmart, Google Play, Amazon and Kobo.